ETC 22161

Pioneering the
Solutions for
Phone Line
White Paper
Pioneering the Ubiquitous Home Network: New
AMD Silicon Solutions for Phone Line Networking
White Paper
The introduction of AMD's first home networking controller will change the way consumers interact
with their personal computers. AMD's new single-chip controller is fully compliant with the Home
Phoneline Networking Alliance's (HomePNA) initial specification for 1 Mbps data transfer over
standard telephone wiring. Utilizing the widely endorsed HomePNA technology and leveraging
significant expertise in enterprise networking allows AMD to produce a highly-integrated device
capable of meeting the growing consumer demand for an inexpensive, easy-to-use technology
allowing for the sharing of computing resources among many different PCs. The PCnet™-Home
single-chip controller marries Ethernet with in-home telephone wiring to deliver on the promises of
home networking.
While Local Area Networks (LANs) are a well-accepted
part of the communications environment for businesses, LANs are not commonly deployed in the home.
This is due to several technical and logistical reasons.
Chief among these is the fact that the widely adopted
and supported enterprise networking technologies require a technically skilled individual capable of designing and maintaining a complex network architecture.
Enterprise networks also require the use of high-grade
wiring typically not found in most homes. Also, few
home users are willing to master the art of installing
and maintaining an Ethernet repeater, learn even the
basics about network protocols, or drill holes through
their walls to run new network-capable wiring throughout their home.
The driving force behind creating new home connectivity products is the growing number of homes with two
or more PCs. With the increased focus on computers in
education and the boom in Internet connectivity, a large
number of PCs being purchased today are additional
PCs as opposed to replacement units. Today, it is estimated that over 15 million of the 100 million homes in
the United States have two or more PCs, and 60% of
new consumer PC purchases are by families that already have at least one computer. This number is expected to double by the year 2000 according to the
research firm Dataquest.
The growth in the number of multiple-PC households
leads to a need for connecting these PCs in order to
maximize the benefits of peripheral components and to
have a convenient method for sharing files and other information between the various computers within the
home. In a home with multiple PCs, each computer
would ideally have its own printer, scanner or other
required peripheral. With a home network, multiple
users can share these expensive peripherals, regardless of their location throughout the home. Without a
network, users who want to print a file, but cannot afford to have a printer attached to every PC in the home,
must physically move the file from one PC to another
via floppy disk. With networked PCs, applications and
files can easily be shared by users, saving time and
An additional primary requirement for a home network
is the ability to provide direct access to the Internet
from every PC within the home. Distributing Internet
access throughout the home becomes increasingly important as next-generation access technologies such
as cable modems and UADSL services deliver increasing amounts of bandwidth to the side of the home. Today, when multiple home users want to access the
Internet via separate PCs, they must each use their
own telephone line and either share a single Internet
account or set-up multiple accounts. Neither of these
two solutions are ideal, and the end result is often multiple users who must share Internet access in a serial
fashion—one PC at a time. Home networks can deliver
huge savings by enabling shared access to a single Internet connection. With integrated silicon and software
support, a home network can enable one PC to act as
an external gateway, distributing Internet access to
every device on the network simultaneously.
Multi-player games will also benefit from the
widespread adoption of home networks, enabling gamers to use two PCs located nearly anywhere in the
home to compete against one another. A ubiquitous,
easy-to-install home network will also foster home automation applications that take advantage of a network
environment, such as environmental control and
security systems (see Figure 1).
This document contains information on a product under development at Advanced Micro Devices. The information
is intended to help you evaluate this product. AMD reserves the right to change or discontinue work on this proposed
product without notice.
Publication# 22161 Rev: B Amendment/0
Issue Date: October 1998
AMD, a leader in highly-integrated Ethernet networking
silicon, has founded an alliance with 10 other companies to designate, promote and support a home networking technology that uses existing in-home
telephone wiring to connect PCs and peripherals. The
HomePNA technical specification currently supports
the transmission of data at up to 1 Mbps across existing
phone wiring, without interfering with standard voice
transmissions. AMD’s new home networking silicon device enables the creation of low-cost Network Interface
Cards (NICs) and adapters that seamlessly connect
PCs, printers, remote access routers, scanners, or any
other peripherals to the home network.
To be successful in the consumer market, a home networking technology must be inexpensive, easy-to-install and truly easy-to-use—while requiring the
installation of no new wires. AMD's PCnet-Home controller supports a truly Plug-and-Play networking envi-
ronment designed to meet all of these requirements.
First and foremost, the AMD home networking solution
uses existing in-home telephone wiring and does not
require the installation of any additional wiring. With the
PCnet-Home controller, every RJ-11 modular phone
jack in the home can become a port on the LAN. Up to
25 PCs, peripherals, or network devices can be installed on a single network that can span up to 500 feet
between the two farthest points.
The PCnet-Home controller uses a Frequency Division
Multiplexing approach that enables standard telephone
wiring to simultaneously carry voice, Universal ADSL
and home networking signals without any of the services impacting each other. Signals from the AMD
home networking device are centered at 7.5Mhz, with
the signal ranging between 5.5Mhz and 9.5Mhz. As
shown in the figure below, this range is well above the
frequencies used by voice services (POTS) and Universal Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (UADSL)
services (see Figure 2).
AMD’s Home Networking Vision. AMD is pioneering home networking by building LAN silicon solutions that provide PC
and peripheral manufacturers with complete, easy-to-use, inexpensive home networking silicon. A PCnet-Home NIC
plugged into a PC allows the computer to communicate with other HomePNA-capable PCs and peripheral devices in
the home. In addition, a single Internet line can be shared by all of the PCs on the network. Regular phone service is
not compromised by the HomePNA networking solution, allowing both voice and data services to occur simultaneously
over the same wiring. Plug-and-play network drivers for Windows 95 and Windows 98 ease the installation process.
Figure 1.
Home Networking: What does it look like?
Pioneering the Ubiquitous Home Network: New AMD Silicon Solutions for Phone Line Networking
Enabling A Low-Cost Solution
One pair of telephone wires acts as 3
separate ‘channels’ for simultaneous voice,
internet access and home networking
Home Network
Figure 2. Compatible with Voice and UADSL
In order to offer a cost-effective home networking solution, the PCnet-Home device leverages existing Ethernet protocols and operations from the Media Access
Controller (MAC) layer up. The only addition required to
interface an 802.3-compliant Ethernet controller with a
telephone network is a new PHY implementing the
HomePNA specification. This provides a convenient
and economical solution using the existing TCP/IP
based networking software stacks used in the
Windows 95, 98, and NT operating systems. AMD's
PCnet-Home integrates all of these components into a
single, inexpensive device bundled with additional
hardware and software support enabling a complete
home networking solution.
The PCnet-Home device (see Figure 3) combines a
standard Ethernet controller with two PHY devices, one
supporting the 802.3 Ethernet standard for 10Base-T,
Figure 3. The AMD PCnet-Home controller is a highly integrated single-chip device incorporating the
silicon necessary for both a HomePNA and Ethernet NIC.
Pioneering the Ubiquitous Home Network: New AMD Silicon Solutions for Phone Line Networking
and another supporting the HomePNA 1 Mbps specification. This dual functionality allows a single controller
to support both standard Ethernet networking as well
as the HomePNA network standard, creating a NIC
that is a complete Ethernet or home network node integrated into a single device. A NIC based on this singlechip controller approach uses the Windows 95/98 or
NT Network Driver Interface Specifications (NDIS)
stacks, and does not require any additional software
drivers to enable a home network. This significantly decreases time to market issues and also ensures home
networking support is native to the operating system.
Additional silicon functionality is enabled through the
integration of a PCI bus interface unit, a Direct Memory
Access (DMA) Buffer Management Unit, an ISO/IEC
88023 (IEEE 802.3) compliant MAC, and a Transmit
FIFO and a large Receive FIFO. This additional on-chip
functionality serves as the foundation for creating a
compelling, easy-to-use home networking solution.
The Media Independent Interface (MII) allows for direct
connection to an additional external PHY, such as a
100 Mbps PHY to enable Fast Ethernet support. This
high level of integration at the silicon level enables a
compelling and inexpensive HomePNA NIC to be built
that meets the consumer price/performance requirements for a successful home networking solution.
AMD enables additional ease-of-use features at the silicon level as well. For instance, AMD's innovative
any1Home™ technology simplifies network management by indicating when a valid node has been detected. The any1Home packet uses minimal network
resources to detect a network failure, allowing upper
layer protocols to take action and correct potential conflicts that may compromise network performance. This
feature is key if one PC is acting as a file or print server,
requiring the node to maintain a constant network link.
Home networking devices built around the AMD home
networking controller provide a low-cost consumer networking solution (see Figure 4). NICs using the AMD
home networking controller can be manufactured to
sell below $50, or simply be integrated onto a PC or
printer motherboard. An integrated, PCI-based HomePNA and Ethernet controller is a flexible bus-mastering
device that can be used in a variety of applications, including network ready PCs, home bridges, and routers.
Direct interface to the PCI local bus simplifies overall
node design complexity, providing a direct link between
the network and a local bus. Expanded PCI bus support also allows for increased levels of connectivity, including support for a V.90 modem. Combining home
networking capabilities and V.90 support onto a single
NIC reduces costs, provides a multi-use card simplifying system integration, and allows a consumer to use a
single RJ-11 jack to access multiple LAN and WAN networking capabilities.
Silicon support integrated into the controller enables
the NIC to comply fully with the Network Device Class
Power Management requirements under the OnNow
Architecture for the PC98 and PC99 specifications.
Support for the D0 through D3 state operation defined
in the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface
(ACPI) specification and compliance with the Power
Management Interface Specification Revision 1.0 are
also supported at the silicon level. All of these features
enable greater management functionality to be integrated into the home network, providing end-users with
an easily configured and managed network.
The achievable throughput capacity capable in most
existing in-home phone wiring can extend far beyond
1 Mbps. AMD's PCnet-Home controller is designed to
allow for the development of higher-speed generations
of the technology to be implemented that are both
backwards compatible and fully interoperable with the
first version of the technology. Next-generation devices
will offer similar functionality to the current AMD home
networking controllers, only they will provide for a home
network running at speeds of 10 Mbps and beyond.
Similar to how Fast Ethernet and Ethernet devices
work together in today's corporate environment, multiple generations of networking devices will also be used
within the home network without conflict or interoperability issues. The applications and protocol stacks
present in the PCnet-Home NIC will remain unchanged, and all that is needed would be the addition
of the next-generation PHY block. This provides a very
clean and simple migration path to 10 Mbps and higher
home networking solutions.
Pioneering the Ubiquitous Home Network: New AMD Silicon Solutions for Phone Line Networking
Figure 4. A high-level of integration allows an AMD-enabled homePNA NIC to have a very simple design.
This NIC plugs into any PC and uses the Windows 95/98 or NT NDIS stacks. The EPROM stores Ethernet
MAC addresses and system parameters.
Pioneering the Ubiquitous Home Network: New AMD Silicon Solutions for Phone Line Networking
Copyright © 1998 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. All rights reserved.
AMD, the AMD logo, and combinations thereof, and any1Home and PCnet are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Product names used in this publication are for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective companies.
Pioneering the Ubiquitous Home Network: New AMD Silicon Solutions for Phone Line Networking